Federal Government to temporarily extend time periods for lay-offs due to COVID-19 Pandemic

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GATINEAU, Q.C. – With COVID-19 creating many challenges for Canadian workers and employers, the Government of Canada has ensured that as many Canadians as possible have been able to return to a job and that business can grow and stay strong once the economy begins to restart.

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, announced Tuesday that there will be some changes in the time periods for temporary layoffs. The time extension should allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes should help to protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and help support employers facing any economic hardship from a result of the pandemic.

Prior to the changes, employers could temporarily lay-off their employees for a total of three months if no notice with a recall date was provided, or for up to six months if they did provide a notice with an expected recall date before the lay-off became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, have now temporarily extended these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020. and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.
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These changes have gone into effect as of June 22, and do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights. The changes also don’t apply to employees whose employment has already been terminated prior to the coming into force of the amendments.

The previous rules will apply to any layoffs that occur after September 30, 2020.

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